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COULD LI MISS OUT ON SINGAPORE? Injury threatens Finals place

On Thursday, World No.2 Li Na announced that she would miss the remainder of the summer, including the US Open, with a knee injury.

So how does Li’s misfortune affect the qualification picture for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global?

Li was an early pacesetter on the Road To Singapore, thanks to her victory at the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open. This triumph catapulted her to the top of the leaderboard, and there she stayed until early June, when she was finally overhauled by Maria Sharapova.

Since then, she has slipped further on the back of early exits at the French Open and Wimbledon, leaving her stuck on 3970 points and placing what for the first half of the season appeared an almost guaranteed place at the Finals in jeopardy.

As Li toiled on the clay and grass, WTA Rising Star Simona Halep was continuing her fine season, deep runs in Madrid, Paris and London helping her to leapfrog Li. And the Romanian was not the only player making inroads on Li’s once-sizeable lead.

Following her Wimbledon runner-up finish, Eugenie Bouchard has closed to within just 363 points of Li, while, Petra Kvitova, her conqueror in the final, is not far behind.

Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska also have more than 3,000 points, while Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova and Angelique Kerber are all within striking distance.

With back-to-back Premier 5 tournaments, in Montréal and Cincinnati, and the US Open on the horizon, there are plenty of points on offer in the coming weeks.

Barring an unlikely series of results Li’s fall down the leaderboard is likely to continue, placing even more pressure on her shoulders when she returns in the autumn. This is likely to come during one of her home events, in Wuhan or Beijing, which will also be two of the last opportunities on the calendar to collect significant points for Singapore.

Click here for the full Road To Singapore singles leaderboard.